Month: January 2009

Conductive Education classics no.3

Proceedings of the First World Congess, 1990
The First World Congress on Conductive Education, ‘Preparation for the Future’, was held in Budapest, 29 November – 1 December 1990, and had delegates from all over the world, mostly from the UK. This gathering was organised by the International Pető Association and the proceedings were published by the International Pető Institute for the International Pető Association. A list of the overseas delegates, opening addresses by Mária Hári and Mr Arpád Göncz, President of the Hungarian Republic, are included with a mix of abstracts and presentations. Many of the presenters – including Helga Keil (Austria), Udi Lion (Israel), Claire Cotter (Australia), Frieda Spivack (US), Andrew Sutton (UK), Masanao Murai (Japan), Brendan McConville (Northern Ireland), Marion Fang (Hong Kong), – were well-known as pioneers of Conductive Education in their countries. Well-known Hungarians included Mária Hári , Ildiko Kozma and Eva Beck.
This publication provides a fascinating glimpse of the Conductive Education world at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s.
Not only was this the first World Congress, it has been the only one to have published proceedings. Future congresses were reported in a variety of ways but never as proceedings.
Subsequent Congresses
The second took place in Budapest, in 1995, was entitled ‘Continuity and Change’. It was recorded in magazine format. as Pető Magazine, in the summer of 1996. This included some of the presentations, news from around the world, a list of publications (including an advance announcement of the International Journal of Conductive Education, which unfortunately never became a reality), and a list of Conductive Education courses and organisations. There were no abstracts.
Number three, ‘From Creation to Development’, was hosted by the Warasibe Institute and took place in Urakawa, Hokkaido, Japan in 1999. Delegates received a list of abstracts (available in English and Japanese) of all 50 presentations and study abstracts. I am not aware of any other material.
London was the venue for the Fourth congress in 2001, organized jointly with Scope (UK). A selection of papers read were published in Conductive Education Occasional Papers, no. 8 by the International Pető Institute, and the Library has bound copies of a number of written presentations collected on the day by delegates from the Foundation for Conductive Education. A book of abstracts was published as supplement 3 to the Conductive Education Occasional Papers.
The Fifth congress returned to Budapest in 2004, entitled ‘Conductive Education Worldwide Science and Quality’. Conductive Education Occasional Papers no.11 contains a selection of papers and Supplements 4 and 5 contain the abstracts, in English and Hungarian respectively. The library also has a number of papers collected from presenters, in Power Point format as well as typescript.
Move & Walk, Sweden, hosted the Sixth Congress in August 2007 and published a programme, report and evaluation on the conference’s website Bound abstracts were given to all delegates as Conductive Education Occasional Papers, Supplement 6. As far as I know no other material is available.
The Seventh, ‘East meets West: Adaptation and Development’ will be hosted by SAHK in Hong Kong in December 2010. Further details will be published on the Congress website shortly
Let us hope that it is well attended and has many interesting and stimulating presentations, and most importantly these will be published as proceedings.
The International Pető Association’s World Congresses are run in association with organisations in the host countries.
Copies of Conductive Education Occasional Papers and its Supplements can be obtained from the Hári Mária Library at the Pető Institute

Adult Conductive Education

After reading Laszlo’s blog about the advert for ‘new’ adult services at the Peto Institute advertised in a disability magazine

and Andrew’s response at

I checked my directory and realised that there is another adult centre they hadn’t mentioned. This is:

ITI UK based in Buckinghamshire

Although most items on Conductive Education tend to be about working with children, the library holds a growing literature on Conductive Education with adults including books, journal articles, conference papers, dissertations and unpublished papers too which document the growth and development of adult work all over the world.

Library has good start for 2009

2009 looks as though it could be a good year for the Library after a very quiet end to 2008. It has started with a number of requests, one for photocopying material for personal study, and several for information covering all aspects of the stock here, ranging from the very general to the specific. All in the past week, at a time which is traditionally quiet here. I have been asked for information on how Conductive Education got its name, Pető, rehabilitation, and ‘for everything you have on cerebral palsy’. The last is an impossible thing to do as there are books, articles, leaflets, journals etc at a variety of levels. So, please be as specific as possible when making enquiries.One enquiry which I blogged and seems to have created a lot of interest, is the one made by Susie about when Conductive Education became known as Conductive Education, as the Hungarian term means something very different. You can see my response to this enquiry on this blog at

with comments that followed, and also

and other relevant postings can be found on Andrew’s blog at

and Susie’s

As I have said already, this subject needs a lot more time spending on it and would be a very interesting project for someone, as its name and the use of the various terms now used, has affected the support and development of Conductive Education worldwide. The facts presented in my previous postings are just the result of a brief survey of materials held here and a thorough investigation would reveal so much more. So please keep this interesting discussion going as that in itself provides a valuable resource for those who wish to extend their knowledge of Conductive Education.

I have also been pleased to see that the number of hits to this blog is now well over one thousand and I hope some of these people will start to make enquiries, ask questions and make comments.

More about konduktiv pedagógia and konduktiv nevelés….

I was pleased to see Tunde, Andrew and Susie respond to the posting re konductiv neveles and konduktiv pedagogia. I see it as my job to present information about the holdings of the library and leave others with a much more in depth knowledge of Conductive Education to analyse, criticise and comment. This is what they have done, raising further requests for information in the process, so here goes.
The library holds four reports of visits to Budapest by Germans in the 1960s:
Otto Klein, from the Humboldt University, Berlin visited the Institute in 1962 calling it ‘Institut für Bewegungspädagogik Budapest’and produced a detailed report of the work there. He referred to the work as ‘Konduktion’ und ‘konduktive Bewegungspädagogik’ and the staff as ‘konduktor’ and ‘Bewegungspädagoginnen’ An English translation of the report mostly used the term ‘movement teacher’ and after a quick scan of the German I could only spot mention of ‘kondutive’ twice amongst the many references to movement pedagogy. Mention of rhythmical intention is made.In 1964 Helmut Eckhardt, a doctor visited whilst on a two week study trip to Budapest and had read Klein’s report two years previously. I do not have an English translation of this and my German is very rusty, but he did use ‘konduktorin’ and ‘konduktor’.

Rolf Lehnhardt, a journalist wrote up his visit in 1965, just after the new profession of konduktor had been recognized by the Hungarian State and he does use the term konduktive Methode and quotes Peto as saying,

Seit 1939 nunmehr in Budapest widme ich mich vorwiegend der konduktive

Ungvari and Schmidt, two Krankengymnastinen (physiotherapists) reported on a three day visit to Budapest in 1967. Again I have no English translation of this, but they wrote of Pető’s method, rhythmic intention and konduktorinnen.
None of these four uses the term Konduktive Förderung,(conductive upbringing) a term commonly used in Germany today. All four appear to be positive enthusiastic reports.

As to Pető’s use of education to describe his work, the article mentioned by Andrew is one he published in 1955 in Gyógypedagógia. An edited version in English was published in The Conductor, 1993. Full references for both of these are below.

Tunde raised the English translation of Konduktiv pedagogia (published in 1971 by Hári and Ákos) in 1988 which was called Conductive Education, but the use of Conductive Education was quite established by then and further investigation would find if any other terms were used then too .

If anyone has anything further to add to this discussion or knows of relevant material please do get in touch. As I said before there is so much in the library that could form the basis of a number of research projects.

Photocopies of all the items listed below can be supplied under the usual conditions. Please contact me if you would like any.

Eckhardt, H. (1964) Die Behandlung zerebralgelähmter Kinder in der ‘Bewegungsversehrten-Erziehungsanstalt und Konduktor-Seminar’ in Budapest unter Leitung von Prof. Dr. med.A. Pető. Beiträge zur Orthopadie und Traumatologie, 11(6), pp.419-424.

Hári, M. and Ákos, K. (1971) Konduktiv pedagogia. Budapest: Tankonyvkiado.
Hári, M. and Ákos, K. (1988) Conductive Education. London: Routledge.
Klein, O.(1962) Zur Bewegungspädagogischen Behandlung zerebral gelähmter Kinder im Institute für Bewegungspädagogik Budapest. Beiträge zur Orthopadie und Traumatologie, 9, pp.315-332.

Lehnhardt,R. (1965) Lebenshilfe für Bewegungsversehrte. Schwabische Zeitung. [Exact date and page unknown]

Pető, A. (1955) Konduktiv mozgasterapia mint gyogypedagogia. Gyópedagógia, no.1, pp.15-21.

Sutton, A. (1993) Conductive movement therapy as special education. The Conductor, 5(2), pp.37-39. [Summary in English of Konduktiv mozgasterapia mint gyogypedagogia. Gyópedagógia, no.1, pp.15-21.]

Ungvari, E. and Schmidt, H. (1967) Bericht über das Institut für Bewegungstherapie in Budapest. Krankengymnastik, no.9, pp.323-325.

Alberta Conductive Education report

It is great to find out that this research report is available again on the Internet as reported on Andrew’s blog.


Answers to enquiries here about research in Conductive Education after its publication in 2000 always included a reference to it and its URL given while it was known. At that time we were having quite a number of enquiries about research in Conductive Education so details of the report went out worldwide. Despite this, I am not aware that any subsequent articles/papers/reports etc have mentioned it or included it in their references/bibliographies. Let’s hope knowledge of its reappearance will now make it become a standard reference starting point for all researchers into Conductive Education.

The full bibliographic details of the report:

Ludwig, S., Leggett, P., Harstall, C. (2000) Conductive Education for children with cerebral palsy. Edmonton: Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research.

It can be found at:

When did konduktiv pedagógia and konduktiv nevelés become Conductive Education?

After posting the piece about Ester Cotton’s visit to Budapest in 1965, I have received an enquiry about the start of the use of the term Conductive Education. Translating the Hungarian phrases ‘konduktiv pedagógia’ and ‘konduktiv nevelés’, (the terminology of choice for most Hungarians) literally gives us ‘conductive pedagogy’ and ‘conductive upbringing’, not Conductive Education.I have had a look at the materials written in English between 1965 and 1972, after which the term started to become widely used in English articles, dissertations and reports. It is not clear, however, from these exactly when and why the system became known as ‘Conductive Education’.

Several reports of visits to the Institute made in 1966 give no name to the system, (Bobath, K.; Bobath, B.) but do mention ‘conductors’, (Parnwell; Seglow), ‘the Budapest method’ and ‘Pető’s training method’ (Parnwell). Seglow did report that ‘Pető regards his education as a conditioning process’. In 1967, Ester Cotton published an article in Nursery World which used the term ‘Conductive Education’ and another article with Margaret Parnwell in Special Education which mentioned the ‘State Institute for Conductive Education of the Motor Disabled’. These were both published after the death of Pető in the September of that year. In 1968 James House, an American professor who visited the Institute, talked only of ‘conductors’ and ‘the Budapest method’ in an interview, not ‘Conductive Education’ (Maas, 1968). In 1971, James Loring, head of the Spastics Society (UK) reported on a visit with no mention of ‘Conductive Education’.

James House went on to initiate a research project at Wisconsin University reported by Laird Heal in 1972 also referred to ‘Conductive Education’. From this time ‘Conductive Education’ seems to have become the term of choice in material held in this library and not other phrases, until the 1980s onwards, when ‘conductive therapy’ and ‘Pető therapy’ started appearing.

This is the result of a very limited and fairly quick search of the items in English held in the library. Searching in other languages may produce different results and further investigation would make an interesting research project for someone.

Other reports, articles, papers etc not held here may shed further light on the subject, so if you know of, or have any information please let me know!



Bobath, B. (1966) Visit to Pető Institute, Budapest, September 1966. Unpublished report.
Bobath, K. (1966) Visit to Dr Pető, Budapest, September 1966. Unpublished paper.
Cotton, E. (1967) They speak to move. Nursery World, 27 October, pp.5-7.
Cotton, E. and Parnwell, M. (1967) From Hungary: the Pető method. Special Education, 56(1), pp.7-11.
Heal, L. (1972) Evaluating an integrated approach to the management of cerebral palsy. Final report. Washington: US Office of Education, Department of Health Education and Welfare.
Loring, J. (1971) A visit to the Pető Institute for spastic children in Budapest. New Hungarian Quarterly, no. 42, pp.140-143.
Maas, R. (1968) Breakthrough in Budapest: an interview with James House. Ideas of Today, 16, pp.110-114.
Seglow, D. (1966) Visit to the Pető Institute. Unpublished paper.

Conductive Education classics no.2

The Institute for Movement Therapy and School for ‘Conductors’, Budapest, Hungary; a report of a study visit.

Over the years there has been a large number of reports of visits to the Pető Institute, in a variety of languages – English, German, Russian and Slovenian, for example. These form an interesting collection in the library as they not only present the different viewpoints of health professionals, parents, teachers and academics but also give different accounts of the work there over a period of time.
The first to come out of Hungary in English was that by Ester Cotton, a physiotherapist, reporting her study visit to Pető’s institute in 1965. Her first visit at the instigation of Berta Bobath was only for one day, but she returned after being granted a month’s study leave from the Bobath Centre and obtaining a bursary from the UK Spastics Society (Russell and Cotton, 1994). On her return to England her enthusiasm for Pető’s system led her to set about trying to bring the system out of Hungary.
The institute was residential and Cotton gave a detailed account of the daily routine for the children which started at 6.00am when the children were woken and finished at 7.00pm. The group, rhythmical intention, and its effect were outlined, along with general background information on the institute’s set-up, equipment and staffing. The report included a number of photos of the children on the plinths, standing, and walking with the conductors.
Although she wrote of ‘unity of treatment and education’ and ‘conductors’ there was no mention of ‘Conductive Education’.
An abstract of the article was appended in English, French and Spanish.
Copies of this article can be obtained from the library. Further details on request.


Cotton, E. (1965) The Institute for Movement Therapy and School for ‘Conductors’, Budapest, Hungary; a report of a study visit. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 7, pp.437-446.
Russell, A. and Cotton, E. (1994) The Peto system and its evolution in Britain. London: Acorn Foundation.

New Job Centre off to a good start

The new Job Centre set up for conductors seems to be off to a reasonable start considering the time of year.There are a number of vacancies up at the moment so if you are looking for a job or want to advertise a post , please go to

Do let me know how you get on, whether you are a conductor looking for work, or a centre looking for a conductor, as it would be interesting to know how many responses each vacancy gets.

Pető Institute is no longer the only option

Over the past year, and particularly this last week, I have been seeing news items about parents raising money to take their children to the Peto Institute in Budapest. A very worthwhile aim but these parents do not seem to have any awareness of the availability of Conductive Education services with conductors, not just in their own country, but very near home and quite often free, or at least subsidised in some way. 

One of the stories reported the efforst of a family in Corby, Northants which cannot be that far from the Leicestershire Steps Centre and I assume they are not aware of this.


It seems that Conductive Education still has a long way to go not only in promoting its benefits, but also promoting the services available locally. A difficult task and something to aim for in 2010.I will try and do my bit and keep my lists of centres up to date and also aim to produce lists of services in more countries.